We probably should have predicted it. I certainly tried my best to help. The Medicare Part D provision that offers reasonable prescription drug plans to seniors and people with serious disabilities has people confused, and it launched recently with some serious transition glitches.
President Bush is upset, seniors are angry, the private health plans and drug stores are trying to pick up the pieces, and the drug companies vary in their responses.

An editorial in the New York Times last Sunday decried the “Medicare Mess.”

How did we get here? Did Congress make the legislation too complicated? Was it too much to expect that bureaucrats could communicate with clarity? Did we overburden the computer systems as 43 million people were encouraged to sign up for plans?

The initial sign-up extends until May 15, and my hope is the dust will settle soon. But right now it looks like just one more government program gone awry.

If you or someone you care about could be covered by Medicare Part D, I urge you to be proactive. Ask questions and push to get the benefit you need and deserve. Admittedly, the program so far is not making it easy for you, and I am as frustrated as you are.

If you are on a medicine for a chronic condition, call the drug company that makes the medicines you use. It is in their interest to help you find coverage that helps pay for what they make. Most have Web sites and 800 numbers to help. Also, if you have MS (and even if you don’t!), we have a brand-new program with tips from those who’ve succeeded in making the transition to Medicare Part D.

I am hopeful we can make the best of imperfect legislation to help people get the medications they need in an affordable way. You can imagine how if this plan doesn’t work, something much more government-controlled might follow - for example, with Medicare buying the medicines and then distributing them.

Would that be better or something even worse? I am not sure.

–Andrew